With the season of Lent coming to a close, there may have been many challenges you were faced with in trying to maintain your fast. Don't be discouraged! Jesus persevered and because of that truth we can find comfort in knowing we can too.
Obstacles arise when we start to practice perseverance - from little daily challenges to entrenched tendencies. The first is distraction. Our consumer culture with all its so-called technological necessities gives us many ways to get off-course: cell phones, electronic games, DVDs, iPods, iPads, and the like. It is hard to stay focused on anything when there are so many chances to turn away from the task at hand.
Another roadblock to perseverance is fear, which depletes our energy so that we give up on ourselves or on the project we have committed ourselves to do.
We need to become fearless spiritual warriors.
Stress and fatigue can also weaken our bodies and take us out of the game. The antidote is to stay physically fit and to eat wisely. Boredom is another challenge we have to face as we repeat activities. Many of us don't have the emotional make-up to do the same thing again and again. A complicated project, the idea of fasting or repenting (turning completely from) old sinful habits to better ones can even lead us to an experience of the dark night of the soul. When we are weighed down with the anxieties that come with a large project, we are grounded and buoyed by the spiritual practice of patience, which is like a loving sister to perseverance.
So recognizing these roadblocks, how do we cultivate perseverance? Here are some spiritual practices that can help:
* Enjoy Persevering at One Thing. Pick one activity that requires a great deal of perseverance and do it for a designated amount of time each week. Whether you are in the mood to do it, do it anyway. When the time is over, put it down. Then pick it up the next day. See what happens as a result of this to you, and to the activity.
* Find a Hero. "We can do anything we want to do if we stick to it long enough," Helen Keller said. She demonstrated, along with others such as Nelson Mandela, Jackie Robinson, Civil Rights marchers and Biblical characters that perseverance is able to bring about change in both our private lives and the public arena. Choose a Biblical hero that had perseverance to honor and emulate this week, someone who has shown you the value of this positive and powerful virtue.
* Say Affirmations. Affirmations can be a great help in developing your capacity to persevere. Affirmations may include your favorite Scriptures, "Even when the going gets tough, I keep going," or "Each day I will give myself credit for the progress I've made."
JESUS persevered and so can we! In the face of the Cross, instead of giving up on His divine mission He persevered through all the many obstacles He faced. Because He did so successfully, so can you. In this Resurrection season look to HIM, fully God and fully man, as a shining example when you feel most tempted to give up or give in; He will give you the strength to make it!
Keep Your Eyes On The SON,
Pastor Larry Green
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Phil. 4:13